New York Auto insurance carriers–Are You “In Good Hands?”

Several insurance companies, and in particular, Allstate Insurance Company (“The Good Hands People”) and State Farm Insurance Company (“The Good Neighbors”) use a computer system known as “Colossus” to evaluate their personal injury claims. If Colossus decides that your case has little or no merit, no claims adjuster with the benefit of a police report, medical records, and hospital records can overrule or modify that decision.

Instead, Colossus considers a number of preliminary matters before looking at your individual case and injuries, including performing a “calculation” to attribute “severity points” to claims. As described by Ron Miller at, Colossus assigns a base severity rating, which is the starting point in the personal injury claim evaluation. Additionally, Colossus will evaluate the experience of the attorneys involved in the case and the venue of the action, After consideration of these factors, the system counts up the points and converts them to a dollar value.

By using Colossus, insurance companies try to reduce the value of your case, and won’t take into consideration factors such as the pain of an individual injury, loss of enjoyment of life, the effect on marital or family relationships, or the inability to perform activities of daily living.

In our practice, we have found that in particular, companies such as State Farm and Allstate are particularly dismissive of soft tissue claims such as whiplash and bulging spinal discs, to the point that their goal is not only to discourage plaintiff attorneys from ever handling these claims, but to make it clear to their own insureds that they do not consider these cases worthy of consideration.